Kenya’s first lady, Margaret Kenyatta, prepares for the London marathon

Margaret KenyattaAs far as 1st Ladies go, Margaret Gakuo Kenyatta is embracing a more digital outlook to her public life. At least nothing like we have seen before in this country.

Mama Ngina was very visible and flamboyant. Lena Moi was mysteriously absent. Lucy Kibaki was in your face and often the de facto official spokes person. All past three would have sounded delirious had they announced intent to run, in a marathon. Therefore Margaret Gakuo Kenyatta is taking her soft power to interesting new levels.

Her comments are reserved, her manners demure, her dress sense conservatively appropriate, her hairstyle functional and mature. We have seen her walk with the elephants, hang out with Mama Sarah Obama in Kogelo and now she is preparing to do the 21kms at the London marathon in April.

There is a cause tied to it; the ‘Beyond Zero’ Campaign that seeks to raise funds to help minimise HIV/AIDs, child and maternal health challenges.  I would imagine, the wives of cabinet secretaries and governors are greatly distressed by her intentions. The 1st lady cannot run alone and power gestures of this sort attract company.

If the First lady wears her jogging shoes, everyone’s spouse will be compelled to follow suit. The spectacle of watching the wives of dignitaries in all states of physical duress plodding along the open roads will make some good TV footage.

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